Importance of Pet Vaccinations

Bringing your dog or cat in for an annual or bi-annual wellness exam is a great way to keep them healthy, but that’s only part of the “wellness puzzle.” To protect your pet against certain life-threatening diseases, Circle of Life Animal Hospital in Tampa recommends keeping your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date. This is especially important for pets that spend a lot of time outdoors. Since September 28 is World Rabies Day, now would be a great time to schedule a vaccination appointment at our hospital for your dog or cat!


About Pet Vaccines

Just as with human vaccines, animal vaccines equip the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. As a result, if your pet is ever exposed to the real virus or disease, their immune system can fight it. There are a number of vaccines available for dogs and cats, and not all pets of the same species require the same vaccines. We can discuss your pet’s lifestyle, age, and medical history to customize a vaccine schedule specifically for them. Many veterinarians recommend the following core vaccines, as a minimum.

Canine Core Vaccines:

  • Canine parvovirus (CPV)
  • Canine distemper virus (CDV)
  • Canine adenovirus (CAV)
  • Rabies

Feline Core Vaccines:

  • Feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1)
  • Feline calicivirus (FCV)
  • Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV)
  • Rabies

Your pet’s vaccines should be updated on a regular basis to ensure that your pet is protected from potentially-fatal illnesses. Depending on the vaccine, we may recommend annual updates for some pets and less frequent updates (every three years) for others. Remember, September 28 is World Rabies Day, so if it’s been a while since your pet has been vaccinated, schedule an appointment at Circle of Life Animal Hospital in Tampa today!


Zoonotic Diseases

In 64 million American household’s pets are a source of joy and perhaps even the key to longer, healthier lives. However, pet-owning households with young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems need to be aware that their animals can play host to disease-causing microorganisms.

Humans are not likely to catch a disease through their pets, but in very rare cases it can happen. Fortunately, most of these diseases rarely occur in healthy individuals, are mild and can be easily treated. Others, like toxoplasmosis, can be far more serious. Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases usually live out their complex life cycles in animals, but sometimes cross into human bodies. Usually contracting a pet-borne disease requires very close contact with animals or their excretions, so zoonotic diseases can be avoided with common sense, cleanliness and regular pet examinations and vaccinations.

Children often put their hands in their mouths, providing an easy route for bacteria to travel into their bodies. For example, children who eat dirt are more susceptible to contracting zoonotic diseases. Children also are more susceptible to pet-borne illness because they carry fewer antibodies than adults do. The same holds true for puppies and kittens, making them more likely to carry disease than older dogs and cats.

Although the chances of getting a zoonotic disease from your pet are slim, these are some common pet-borne illnesses that can make people sick:


This bacteria generally makes its way into human bodies through contaminated food. The bacteria can be passed through animal feces and may cause symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea and exhaustion.


Roundworm eggs and microscopic adult worms can be excreted in the feces of dogs and cats infected by the worms. Children may be at a higher risk for contracting roundworms because they play near pets or touch infected feces and put their hands into their mouths. Because of the risk to children, all cats and dogs should be taken to their veterinarians for regular fecal examinations. Also remember to cover all sandboxes when not in use to prevent children from contacting contaminated feces. Symptoms can include fever, cough, loss of appetite, weakness and lung congestion.


Cat Scratch Fever

This bacteria is usually transmitted from cats to humans through scratches. The bacteria is found on nails or claws and can cause high fever, loss of appetite, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In otherwise healthy people, Cat Scratch Fever is usually mild and resolves itself. However, the bacteria caused by Cat Scratch Fever can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if left untreated in immune-compromised individuals. It’s important for these pet owners to tell their doctors they own a cat. Young children should be sure to wash scratches thoroughly with soap and water.

Strep Throat

Though your pet is probably not the culprit bringing strep into your household each year, the possibility does exist. Recently, researchers have found that it’s more likely that people are infecting their pets. In any case, keep your children from kissing, licking or exchanging food by mouth with their pets.

A fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails, ringworm starts as a rapidly spreading hairless, circular lesion. Humans can be infected through use of contaminated objects like hair brushes, towels or clothing or by contact with infected animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats and guinea pigs.


Also called sarcoptic mange, scabies is a skin disease caused by itch mites which burrow under the skin. Scabies cause intense itching and scratching that can result in severe eczema. Humans can be infected through contact with infected animals.

The most effective way to prevent zoonotic diseases and ensure your good health is to ensure good health for your pets. This means taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular exams and vaccinations. Most pet owners find that by following their veterinarian’s nutritional and health recommendations, their pets will lead happy, healthy lives with little risk of zoonotic infections.


Make Sure They Can Get Home: Check Your Pet’s Microchip

Calico cat in the studio.

Is your pet’s microchip up-to-date? If your pet were lost, would an animal hospital or shelter be able to contact you once your pet was found?


It’s important to get your pet microchipped; but it’s just as important to make sure that microchip contains the correct information in order for your four-legged friend to get home.

How does a microchip work?
The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected by a veterinarian or veterinary technician just beneath your pet’s skin in the area between the shoulder blades. This is usually done without anesthesia, and the experience can be compared to getting a vaccination.

Each microchip has a unique registration number that is entered into a database or registry, and is associated with your name and contact information. If your lost dog or cat is found by an animal hospital, shelter or humane society, they will use a microchip scanner to read the number and contact the registry to get your information.

Make sure you can be found, too
While it may be comforting to know the microchip won’t get lost or damaged, and that it will probably last the pet’s lifetime, the microchip is useless if you’re not updating your contact information with the registry. If your pet has been microchipped, keep the documentation paperwork so you can find the contact information for the registry. If you don’t have the documentation paperwork, contact the veterinarian or shelter where the chip was implanted.

Keep in mind there are more than a dozen companies that maintain databases of chip ID numbers in the U.S. By using AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup at, you can locate the registry for your chip by entering the microchip ID number. If you don’t have your pet’s microchip ID number, have a veterinarian scan it and give it to you.

Only about 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back to their owners. Prevent the heartache and ensure your pet has an up-to-date microchip.


Originally published by Healthy Pet.

The Importance of Pet Dental Care

Pet Dental Cleanings in Tampa, FL

Did you know that according to the American Veterinary Dental College, more than half of all dogs and cats have some form of gum disease by just 3 years of age? It’s true, and what’s worse is that if it’s left untreated, gum disease can leave your pet in a lot of pain and result in tooth loss. It can also affect the internal organs, shortening your pet’s life span. Circle of Life Animal Hospital in Tampa, FL wants to help you be proactive about your pet’s oral health, which is why we recommend annual physical exams and offer comprehensive dental services.

The annual pet wellness exam includes a check of the mouth and gums. If we notice any signs of gum disease, such as bad breath, discolored or loose teeth, or excessive licking around the mouth, we may recommend setting a separate appointment for a thorough pet dental cleaning. sure to let us know if your pet has been demonstrating certain behaviors that may indicate an oral problem, such as reluctance to eat and constantly dropping food during the exam.

About Our Pet Dental Services in Tampa, FL

Before beginning any dental procedure here at Circle of Life Animal Hospital, we administer pre-anesthetic blood work to make sure that your pet is healthy enough for dental care and anesthesia. We perform all of our dental services under general anesthesia and monitor all patients before, during, and after each procedure. Our dental services include ultrasonic scaling and polishing, as well as tooth extractions—if necessary. Since many dental problems occur below the gum line, we rely on digital X-ray technology to examine the teeth.

How to Care for Your Pet’s Teeth from Home

The best way to maintain your pet’s teeth from home is to start brushing their teeth when they’re very young. However, you can establish an at-home regimen when your pet is an adult, too. Brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis will help keep their teeth and gums healthy between visits to Circle of Life Animal Hospital in Tampa.

If your pet isn’t a fan of the toothbrush or the brushing process, you’re not alone. Even after following all of the recommended steps, some pets just refuse to have their teeth brushed at home. The good news is that there are many pet dental care products available, such as sprays, water additives, and chews. We’ll be happy to give you our recommendations and give you some tips for proper brushing techniques (if your pet is cooperative) during your visit.

Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions about at-home dental care or any other questions related to your pet’s oral health. Our staff will be happy to assist you.

Keep Your Cat Safe in a Heat Wave

The temperature is soaring, and it’s only going to get hotter. Make sure you know how to keep your cat safe in the summer heat.

Red cat outside.
  1. Watch out for heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse. If you think your cat may have heatstroke, get the vet ASAP — the condition can cause permanent organ damage and death. Learn more about heatstroke in pets.
  2. Offer your cat several ways to cool off. Leave a fan on in a place where your cat can sit in front of it, add some ice cubes to her water or offer her a cool treat (check out our recipe for catsicles.)
  3. Let your cat find cool spots in the house. Your cat will seek out the cooler parts of your home, so make sure she has access to areas with tile floors or rooms that don’t get much sun.
  4. Play in the morning or evening. Any exercise should take place during the cooler hours of the day. This is especially important for young kittens and seniors, both of whom are very vulnerable to heatstroke. (If your cat has just eaten, make sure you give her some time to digest before you begin playtime.)
  5. Brush your cat often. A well-groomed, tangle-free coat will help keep your cat cool. (Learn more about grooming your cat.)